The two franchises have had wildly different starts to this campaign, but given the brilliance of the Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse, it will be interesting to see how his team fares against the high-flying Pelicans.
Fixture: Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Saturday, January 2nd, 2021 - 7:30 PM ET (Sunday, January 3rd, 2021 - 6:00 AM IST)
Venue: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans are in terrific form and are tied with the third-best record in the West at 3-2.
The team has only looked better with every passing minute, and a big reason behind that is the performances of Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Lonzo Ball.
While the bench has shown brilliant improvement as well, these three players have looked very impressive for the team on both ends. In fact, it is because of their performances that many fans of the franchise believe the New Orleans Pelicans are practically a lock for the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
In terms of injuries, the only one to report for the franchise is Wenyen Gabriel (knee).
Key Player - Brandon Ingram
He can attack an opposing defense from virtually anywhere on the floor. His long legs and arms allow him to finish strongly around the rim. His mid-range game is already at an elite level, while his shooting from beyond the arc has also improved rapidly.
If the Toronto Raptors want to stand any chance at winning this game, they must look to shut Brandon Ingram down completely during the game.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
G Lonzo Ball, G Eric Bledsoe, F Brandon Ingram, F Zion Williamson, C Steven Adams
Toronto Raptors Preview
The Toronto Raptors desperately need a win, and they need it now. The team has the third-worst record in the East right now at 1-3.
A large part of the team doing so poorly is down to the fact that lots of the players have been underperforming massively. While Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have done what they can, the likes of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby need to perform at a far better level for the franchise's fortunes to turn.
Patrick McCaw (knee) is the only player currently injured for the franchise, who is just a few weeks away from recovering completely as per reports.
Key Player - Fred VanVleet
Despite the presence of Pascal Siakam in the roster, Fred VanVleet is arguably the most influential player for the Toronto Raptors.
The 26-year-old is one of the best shooters in the NBA and stretches the defense far beyond the three-point line. Additionally, he is an elite scorer overall and also has impressive passing and floor general abilities.
Fred VanVleet can truly do everything, and the New Orleans Pelicans could be in serious trouble if the player catches fire during this game.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
G Kyle Lowry, G Fred VanVleet, F OG Anunoby, F Pascal Siakam, C Aron Baynes
Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans Match Prediction
While it isn't impossible for the Toronto Raptors to take this game, given their form and how badly the team has underperformed, it is highly improbable.
Adding to that, the New Orleans Pelicans have been on fire and look like they can give the best in the NBA a run for their money.
In the end, form does, in fact, count for something and the Pelicans will go into this game as heavy favorites over the Toronto Raptors.
Where to watch Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans?
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